Pirelli is the title sponsor of the United States Grand Prix, with the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft nominated: the same trio that kicked off the 2018 season in Australia seven months ago and has been seen together at three more races since (in Azerbaijan, France and Austria). This weekend plays host to a crucial battle in the drivers’ championship, lending an extra edge to what is already a spectacular circuit with several unique features, which nonetheless incorporates the best elements of many existing tracks. With either race or all-time lap records being broken at 14 circuits so far this year, the Pirelli United States Grand Prix is ready to be the next one to make history.
The Circuit of the Americas from a tyre point of view:
Pirelli brings the same tyre nomination to Austin as last year although it’s really a step softer, as all of the 2018 compounds are a step softer than their 2017 counterparts.
• The anti-clockwise Circuit of the Americas contains a wide variety of very different corners: the right set-up is invariably a compromise.
• The most notable feature is the uphill and then downhill hairpin that forms Turn 1: getting the braking right for it is extremely challenging.
• Three long straights can cool the tyres on each lap: keeping them in the right operating window is essential.
• Lewis Hamilton won for Mercedes last year with a one-stopper, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was second with a two-stopper. Throughout the field, there was a mix of one-stop and two-stop strategies.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola comments on what to expect ahead of the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix in terms of tyre management: “As was the case last year, we expect a few different strategies to be possible at Austin, but due to the frequently variable weather and wide range of track characteristics, this is always quite a hard race to predict. In recent years, the asphalt that made its debut in 2012 has stabilised, but it will be particularly important for the teams to get a comprehensive read on the latest conditions in free practice to prepare an optimal strategy. This isn’t always obvious in Austin, although there are several opportunities to overtake on track as well, as we saw last year. In 2018, this race is of particular importance to us, as Pirelli is the grand prix title sponsor. This underlines the significance of the United States to our company, with the very first P Zero World store being opened in Los Angeles two years ago.” – Mario Isola explained, as reported earlier today by Pirelli’s official website.
At the same time as the grand prix, a newly-organised Fan Festival takes place in Miami, featuring show runs as well as other entertainments.
• The support race programme in Austin includes America’s Formula 4 and Formula 3 series: both of which use Pirelli tyres to help young drivers climb the career ladder.
• Paolo Andreucci clinched his 11th Italian Rally Championship title last weekend, in a Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R5.
Min starting pressures (slicks)